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Album Reviews : Bane of Winterstorm – The Last Sons of Perilyn

By on November 4, 2013

The Last Sons of PerilynEpic. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. And for this reason, it can occasionally lose its meaning. But with The War of Shadows I: The Last Sons of Perilyn, the debut album by Bane of Winterstorm (what is perhaps Australian metal’s closest example to a supergroup), there is no other way to describe it. The term epic means something ‘heroic’ or ‘grand in scale’. Both these terms seem so apt when it comes to describing this album. I believe it’s fair to say that something like this has never graced our shores in quite the same way as the epic Bane of Winterstorm has. Incredibly powerful and solid arrangements flow throughout this release, as well as an overarching structure that can well be compared to the finest compositions of Rhapsody of Fire, Avantasia, Blind Guardian, and Dragonland, the latter of whom also having graced this record with their lead vocalist, Jonas Heidgert, who provides guest vocals on track, “The Magic of Mithren’s Ring”. Alongside Dragonland, members of LORD, Damnation’s Day, Desecrator Vanishing Point and Divine Ascension also provide welcomed guest spots on this record.

To listen to The Last Sons of Perilyn not as a whole but in pieces would be like asking someone to read The Fellowship of the Ring without then reading The Two Towers or The Return of the King. It’d be a great disservice to the listener, just as it would be to the reader. The Last Sons of Perilyn evokes the same aural tension and engaging atmosphere that far more experienced bands such as Opeth have perfected, but does so with a complete absence of any sense of inexperience. And just as with Opeth’s releases, The Last Sons of Perilyn is an album that deserves to be listened to in its entirety to fully appreciate this masterpiece of musical ingenuity. I don’t spread the word ‘masterpiece’ lightly either, and very rarely, if ever in fact, have I used it in any of my other reviews. As I was writing this article while listening through the album, I found the word came to me naturally, and it was something I both embraced and understood in that moment.

This album is something special, not just for fans of the symphonic power metal genre, but also to those of excellent storytelling and superb arrangements. Through forty-eight minutes, this album weaves a tale of sorrow, heroism, and foreboding akin in spirit to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Speaking of comparisons to Tolkien’s writings, it is also something else I don’t use lightly, either. Few bands, while no doubt inspired by the English author’s fantasy epics, have managed to capture the same essence and feeling of foreboding and darkness that Tolkien’s works conjure while reading them. Nor have many albums in the genre pulled off something as grand in scale as this successfully without seeming cheesy at times. It’s with great pleasure then that I can say that Bane of Winterstorm break the mould to deliver an aural journey likely different from anything you may have yet heard in Australia. And in glorious, symphonic fashion, I might add.

Saturated in the best of European metal traditions, I honestly can’t say enough about this album. To use an old term, and some might say clichéd, it is regardless a phrase I feel is entirely appropriate in this situation. This album is all killer and no filler. And honestly, no single arrangement stands out more than the rest. Bane of Winterstorm has pulled off an incredible feat here, and I can’t applaud them enough for it. The melodies blend so seamlessly together between each song that it feels as if you’re listening to a single entity, like how I imagine the war song might be of an angelic host marching as one toward battle. It isn’t segmented into pieces that lessen the impact of the music; rather each arrangement appears to flow as a single composition heightened with wonder and ominous beauty, all the while being supported by a tale that could rightfully find itself seated alongside the greatest works of fantasy and mythology.

With the amazing vocalisation of Riccardo Mecchi, current frontman of Anarion, Bane of Winterstorm indeed found the right man for the job. Recalling the finest works of Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) and Fabio Lione (ex-Rhapsody), Mecchi’s undeniable style and ability shines through in every track, and his ability to immerse the listener deep within the shadowy lands of Orthanos is testament to not only his sheer skill as a vocalist, but his ability to carry a band as diverse and inspiring as this.

In a world shrouded by chaos, glory, and the looming shadow of war, the themes of the album perfectly weave their way around the symphonies, melodies, and varying styles on the album. Further augmented by the incredible engineering of Chris Themelco (Orpheus Omega), who is also the guitarist and backing vocalist for the band, Bane of Winterstorm have woven an ethereal web of symphonic metal that incorporates influences from melodic thrash and death metal. It builds an aura of woe and desperation as the warriors of Orthanos steel themselves for the coming war, and an ever-growing darkness falls over this mythic realm to percussive and symphonious aisles of martial discord and valour.

Credit must be given also to Anthony J. Finch who is the mastermind behind this project. A multi-instrumentalist, among his many other credits, he is the chief lyricist for Bane of Winterstorm, and alongside bassist Tristan Peterson who wrote the accompanying novella, the two have collaborated over a number of years, and Peterson was responsible too for helping bring this rich, magnificent world to life. Though that being said, it is by no means at the detriment to the other members of the band. Each member deserves praise for what they’ve achieved here, and they should be damn proud of it, too. The vocals are solid and each instrument rings through with great and awesome clarity.

If the metal community were ever awaiting an example of symphonic music hewn from the mind of musical genius to forge an aural experience as epic as its own lyrical content, then this band is the answer. The Last Sons of Perilyn is phenomenal, and Bane of Winterstorm have forged a symphonic, metallic force to be reckoned with, and one that can rightfully stand alongside the European acts its origins are so deeply rooted in.

Band: Bane of Winterstorm
Album: The Last Sons of Perilyns
Year: 2013
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
www.facebook.com/baneofwinterstorm

1. The Black Wind of Morthion
2. The Magic of Mithren’s Ring
3. The Ancient Ritual of Räkth
4. The Warlord’s Last Ride
5. The Last Sons of Perylin

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.